The short version
Amy has been writing for as long as she can remember, inspired by a childhood fascination with books. By the time she was fifteen and confronted with school ‘careers guidance’, she’d decided being an author was the only profession she could possibly enjoy – which, of course, led to a string of other roles, including Archaeology student, bookseller and library assistant. These days, she lives in the North Yorkshire countryside with her partner, where they run a bed & breakfast business and smallholding. When she’s not working or writing, Amy enjoys reading, gaming, photography, and trying to pretend she’s a grown-up.
The longer one
I’m always fascinated by the biographies of other writers – it’s just about the first place I go on a writer’s website – which is why I’m writing this longer spiel to go with the short bio above. Everything that one says is true, of course, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more to add!
‘Writing for as long as I can remember’ sounds like a cliche, but it’s absolutely true. My mum thinks I was starting to read, or at least show an interest in words, before I could walk (my early fascination was with the phone book, for some reason). At primary school, I used to get sent to the ‘big kids’ classroom for books when everyone else was reading ‘Roger Red-hat’, and I never once had to learn the words for our weekly spelling tests.
It’s one thing to be good at spelling, though, and quite another to want to write. I’d been scribbling stories all my life (mostly rip-offs of Star Trek and The Lord of the Rings, which I loved with equal fervor), but it wasn’t until I was fifteen that I realised nothing save a life as a writer was going to make me truly happy. Try telling that to parents and teachers, though: although I’d spent three years churning out books beforehand, in the end, I made a last minute decision to study Ancient History and Archaeology at uni, rather than the English and History I’d long been considering.
In the end, it was a good choice. I spent three years studying the sort of social history and politics that makes perfect fantasy novel fodder, whilst reading stuff I actually wanted to read in my spare time (screw you, classic literature!). Still, I never actually wanted to be an archaeologist, as one extremely wet summer excavation in Wales perfectly proved. Instead, my life after uni was every bit the cliche of the arts graduate: I worked for a few months in a bookshop, then went to work in a library.
After a few years of trying to convince myself I wanted to study for an MA in librarianship, everything changed, and my partner and I got the opportunity to move out of the city we’d been living in, to buy a rambling Victorian farmhouse and turn it into a B&B (actually, the house is very squat and square, the very antithesis of ‘rambling’, but that sounds better). Quite honestly, after six years in suburbia, I would have resigned myself to a life of cleaning toilets just to get back to the countryside- Oh, wait. Cleaning toilets. That’s what I am doing.
These days, I fit my writing in around cleaning and baking and gardening and keeping sheep – which sounds like the sort of thing you retire to, but, I can assure you, is equally enjoyable when you’re in your 20s. After sporadically submitting work to agents for years, I eventually lost patience with query letters and decided to self-publish; it’s a route that carries its own problems, certainly, but is far more satisfying than endless rounds of ‘you write very well but it’s just not quite what we’re looking for’.
And that brings us up to the present. These days, I write epic fantasy rather than thinly veiled Star Trek fan-fic, but in some ways, not much has changed: I’ve always got a story in progress, a dozen more in my head, and a book in my hand (or at least as close as I can feasibly keep one when I’m busy cleaning toilets).
The picture of me was provided by the very talented Ashley Hunt, who also creates all my cover art (it’s great living with a graphic designer).
If you want to contact me, you can always comment on my blog posts, or feel free to email me at this address: amy[dot]sanderson42[at]gmail[dot]com Just replace the words in square brackets with the appropriate symbols.